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Match Reports

Match Report: Chesterfield 1-3 Grimsby Town

Goals from Nathan Clarke, Sam Jones and a Ben Davies penalty gave the Mariners all three points on the opening day of the season

5 August 2017

Grimsby Town made the perfect start to the new season with an excellent opening day victory against Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium.

In an entertaining contest, the hosts started brightly but the Mariners took the lead through Nathan Clarke, before Sam Jones doubled their advantage before half-time.

Chesterfield poured forward after the break in search of a way back into the game but Town stood up to the pressure well until substitute Kristian Dennis eventually did manage to pull a goal back with eight minutes to go.

But Grimsby's response was almost immediate as Ben Davies restored their two-goal cushion from the penalty spot after Harry Cardwell was fouled, to the delight of the 2,650 travelling supporters.

Home defender Ian Evatt was sent off for the foul which led to the spot-kick before Zak Mills was also dismissed for two bookable offences as the game ended 10-a-side.

Town boss Russell Slade's first starting XI of the season included five new signings, with Clarke, Paul Dixon, Siriki Dembele, Mitch Rose and Sam Kelly all making their debuts.

James McKeown began in goal, with Mills, Clarke, Danny Collins and Dixon forming the defence.

Dembele, James Berrett, Rose and Kelly were the midfielders, with Jones starting just behind Scott Vernon in attack.

Three more new signings were included among the substitutes, with Ben Killip, Cardwell and Karleigh Osborne named alongside Davies, Tom Bolarinwa, Luke Summerfield and Jack Keeble.

Chesterfield came into the game having had a summer of rebuilding following relegation from League One, with no fewer than 11 new arrivals in manager Gary Caldwell's squad.

The main threat to the Town defence was likely to come from striker Chris O'Grady, who joined the Spireites from Premier League new boys Brighton and Hove Albion as one of those new signings.

The hosts had the first attack of note when O'Grady found Dion Donohue on the left.  His cross was controlled inside the box by Gozie Ugwu but the striker could not connect with an overhead kick.

At the other end, a free kick was headed clear before a poor challenge by Donohue on Dembele earned the left-back the first yellow card of the game.  Kelly's free kick was headed wide by Clarke.

Ugwu forced McKeown into a save after being found inside the box by O'Grady on six minutes as the end-to-end opening to the game continued, with the ball then being cleared for a corner.

Another chance for the home side came on 11 minutes after a good build-up involving O'Grady and Ugwu, with midfielder Louis Reed eventually shooting wide of the target.

Town could have taken the lead when more good play saw Jones find Vernon but Kelly was twice denied by home keeper Joe Anyon after the striker's low cross.

McKeown was called into action again on 20 minutes, coming off his line to make a good save from Jordan Sinnott, who may have felt he should have scored.

Kelly tried his luck from 25 yards at the other end soon afterwards but his shot was comfortably stopped by Anyon in the Chesterfield goal.

A handball by Dembele gave the home side a free kick 30 yards from goal on 26 minutes but Sinnott's shot from it was comfortably stopped by McKeown.

A low cross from Kelly was cleared for a Town corner on 32 minutes and from it, the Mariners took the lead.  The ball from the left went to CLARKE at the far post and he headed it back across and into the net to open the scoring on his debut.

Three minutes later, Dembele went down inside the penalty area after appearing to get a push from beind but referee Eddie Ilderton waved play on.

Instead, it was the hosts who had the next opportunity but a good block by Rose stopped Reed's drive from 25 yards.

Soon afterwards, O'Grady managed to control the ball and shoot on the turn from 15 yards but his effort was straight at McKeown.

When the next goal came on 39 minutes, it was the Mariners who doubled their advantage.  Dembele was the architect, setting off on a great run through the middle before threading the ball through for JONES, who kept his composure to slot past Anyon for 2-0.

Town survived a home penalty shout for handball three minutes before he break as the hosts probed in search of a way back into the game.

Sinnott hit a shot well over the bar from the edge of the box, before the midfielder saw another effort blocked by Rose as the game moved into two added minutes.

Collins had to head a cross from the left behind for a corner in the first of those minutes but the flag-kick was cleared.

That proved to be the last opportunity for Chesterfield to pull a goal back before the referee's half-time whistle, meaning the Mariners kept their two-goal advantage at the interval.

Kristian Dennis replaced Charlie Wakefield for the home side before the restart and they were straight on the attack, with a shot being blocked before another was sent wide of the target.

Town had an opportunity to stretch their lead further when a great ball from Berrett found Kelly but after he took it forward into the box, defender Scott Wiseman got back and did just enough to ensure the ball went out for a corner.

Sinnott fired a shot from 25 yards that went just wide, before a foul on Kelly gave the Mariners a free kick on the right.  Berrett sent it into the box but Anyon produced a superb save to deny Clarke, whose header had looked destined for the net.

Kelly looked to be feeling the effects of the challenge and was replaced on 55 minutes by Summerfield, with Dembele moving over to the left.

A shot from O'Grady was deflected over the bar for a corner but Sinnott's delivery was headed away for a throw-in.

Another corner came on the hour as the hots continued to attack but again, the danger from the flag was dealt with.

But the corners kept coming, with two more in quick succession leading to yet another when a header was tipped over the bar by McKeown.

Town were having to do a lot of defending but they were finally able to relieve some of the pressue as Dembele set off on a run through the middle before Rose fired a shot over the bar from distance.

Delial Brewster replaced Sinnott for Chesterfield on 69 minutes and he won a corner on the right soon afterwards.  Rose and Ian Evatt were both shown yellow cards after an incident before the kick was taken.

The corner was headed out for another one and after the second was also dealt with, Vernon was penalised for a handball 30 yars from his own goal.  Reed took the free kick but McKeown was equal to his deflected shot.

Dembele went down with an injury on 74 minutes and eventually had to go off, to be replaced by Davies.

A shot from Reed was well-blocked by Rose, before another Chesterfield corner was dealt with by the Town defence and an effort from Dennis flew harmlessly wide.

Cardwell replaced Jones for the Mariners, with Jak McCourt coming on in place of Robbie Weir for the hosts at the same time.

Another Chesterfield corner came with nine minutes to go and this time, they finally made it count as the ball bounced around the penalty area before DENNIS forced it in for 2-1.

But within two minutes, the Mariners had their two-goal lead back as Cardwell was brought down inside the box by Evatt, who was shown a second yellow card, swiftly followed by a red.  DAVIES stepped up and blasted the ball past Anyon from 12 yards to make it 3-1.

Town's numerical advantage did not last long as Mills, who had been booked for timewasting, was shown a second yellow card following an altercation with Dennis, who was also booked.

Six additional minutes were signalled by the fourth official and the Mariners saw them out to seal the three points and get their campaign off to a flying start against a team who will be among the favourites for promotion.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when Derby County are the visitors to Blundell Park in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

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